The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of events for our family.
Before I start the series on my unexpected pregnancy with identical twin boys, I would like to jump ahead in the story to where we are at today: on our way home from a hospital in L.A., recovering from fetal/placental laser surgery just yesterday. As of 24 hours post-surgery, both babies are alive. Baby B is faring very well and has a great chance of survival. Baby A, the smaller baby, is still in critical condition, though showing great progress and improvement even since yesterday. Pre-surgery, we were only given a 50/50 chance of Baby A surviving (as opposed to 0% without the surgery), but are encouraged by the promisingly quick improvement since the procedure.
Please join us in praying for the survival of our babies, as well as their and my swift and complete recovery. If they survive, it will first and foremost be due to the grace of God. In addition, we he have been receiving expert care all along the way since the earliest warning signs were detected. Even as recently as 10 years ago, babies like ours were doomed to both die.
For now, let's back up the story to when it all began.
Wednesday, Oct. 23 - My first prenatal appointment with this pregnancy at 11w 5d. I was measuring a little large for dates (16cm), but anything before 20 weeks is considered fairly normal for a grand multipara (fancy term for a mom who has given birth to lots of babies). I jokingly told my midwife I was suspecting twins, but that I almost always suspect that early on, because it's somewhat of a fear of mine. Too early to check for two heart beats with a Doppler.
Wednesday, Nov. 20 - My second prenatal appt. at 15w 5d, exactly four weeks later. Now measuring about 23 cm, which is definitely a possible indication for multiples. The midwife checks for second heart beat with Doppler. Several minutes only reveal one heart beat, then, suddenly, a second heart beat deep on the far lower left side, hiding behind a major aorta. Midwife tells me she is 98% sure it's twins. I start crying, immediately overwhelmed at the thought of carrying, birthing, and caring adequately for two babies at once.
My midwife schedules a diagnostic ultrasound for late afternoon that same day
The ultrasound shows two babies. There is only one placenta (monochorionic), so they have to be identical. Tech initially thinks it might be girls, which surprised me because my feeling all along had been identical twin boys. However, we clearly catch a glimpse of boy parts on both shortly thereafter. So identical twin boys it is! This first ultrasound takes about 90 minutes.
Thursday, November 21 - My midwife receives the detailed u/s report. Concerns from the report include a possibility of monoamniotic twins (one sac, "mo/mo twins"), which is a very rare and dangerous condition, as well as twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) due to size discrepancy between the babies. My midwife strongly suggests seeing an MFM (maternal-fetal medicine) specialist, and suggests Dr. Elliot, who is considered the #1 expert in this field, nationwide, and happens to have his office just miles from our house. Moms with high-risk pregnancies move to Phoenix from all over the country to be able to have him provide their care.
My midwife has worked with him in the past. She called him personally to discuss my case, as well as my concerns about patient modesty. I am fine with having my stomach exposed for ultrasounds by him if necessary, but want only to be seen by one of the female staff for anything that involves my private areas (unless we are faced with a life-and-death, emergency situation). He ensures her that his role is more that of a consultant than anything else, and that it will not be a problem.